Content marketing, along with social media and SEO, is an incredibly important component of any inbound marketing  campaign – efforts designed to bring your target audience to you, instead of you trying to force your brand on them.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king” before, and that’s because it’s true! The search engines read your webpage content to determine if it matches a search query, your target audience reads content you produce (blogs, articles, whitepapers, etc.) to learn more about your given industry, and producing great content is what earns your company a reputation as a valuable and trusted source of information. In short, a great content marketing campaign can accomplish a lot!
But running a great content marketing campaign is more complicated than churning out a few blog posts a week. Without structure, focus and consistency, a content marketing campaign isn’t going to bring any real value to your brand.
Here are five common mistakes companies make when it comes to content marketing:
Limited fresh content.
Content marketing thrives on content. While that may sound obvious/redundant, how many blogs have you come across where the last post was two weeks old? Stagnant blogs are fairly useless. Since each post can rank individually, each post can (and should) target a different keyword, increasing your online presence.
Sure, the older the content is, the more trust it has with the search engines, but if you’re just writing a blog purely for SEO, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Blogs are a great place to interact with your target audience; they are inherently social in nature! Writing a dozen posts and letting them “age” doesn’t encourage your readers to come back. They learn very quickly that there is nothing to be gained from visiting your blog. Plus, the more content you write now, the sooner those posts can build up age and authority.
Targeting the wrong audience.
Marketing 101- understand your audience. Who are you trying to get to read your blog, truly? Do you want it to appeal to other industry professionals or is it meant to educate your target consumer. And who is your target consumer? What kind of online habits do they have? What kind of problems are they looking for answers to?
Let’s say your company sells office supplies. Who are you really trying to connect with through your blog? Does the CEO of a major company really bother to sit down and figure out how many pens they need to order? You want to niche your target audience down a few levels so you can create content that applies directly to them.
Message is too promotional.
Content marketing is not another platform for you to promote your business. You are not there to sell! Content marketing is about helping your customer, not pitching to them. If you think you’ll be able to mask an ad and pass it off as a blog post or article, you’re in for a surprise. People have little patience for being talked at, and even less when they feel like they’ve been tricked. If someone clicks through to a post and expects to learn something or have a question answered, and they find themselves reading a piece of promotional fluff, they are going to walk away with a negative opinion about your brand.
Not promoting content.
Producing great content is only half of the battle. Even exceptional content needs help getting noticed. If you want to get the most out of your content marketing, you have got to engage in content promotion . This means submitting your content to social bookmarking sites, incorporating it into your company newsletter, publishing it on all your social profiles, adding share buttons so your readers can republish it, linking to it from related pages on your site and more. There is a lot of clutter out there that your blog post or article is fighting with to get noticed. If you want to give your content marketing a fighting chance at really helping build your brand, you have got to promote everything!
Not sticking with it.
Content marketing success is not going to happen overnight. It might take a year or two before your blog really hits its stride and attracts a loyal readership. You can’t build your reputation overnight, so don’t expect to be invited to guest write on high-profile industry sites until you’ve paid your dues. As you get more and more involved with your content marketing, you’ll find new ways to interact and engage with your target audience, unique spins for topics  and so much more! There are going to be a lot of hurdles to overcome, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, content marketing can do so much for your brand!
About the Author
Nick Stamoulis is the Founder of Brick Marketing, a full-service SEO  and white-hat link-building  firm based in Boston, MA. With over 12 years of B2B SEO industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily SEO articles to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal .